This album showcases a unique style of Gamelan created as a reaction to the government’s ban on rock and roll. Armed with gongs, bronze keys, drums and vocals, these musicians voice a rock spirit in the most graceful way possible. Featured are Jaipongan’s most legendary performers, Idjah Hadjijah on vocals and the famed Jugala group of West Java.

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This album showcases a unique style of Gamelan created as a reaction to the government’s ban on rock and roll. Armed with gongs, bronze keys, drums and vocals, these musicians voice a rock spirit in the most graceful way possible. Featured are Jaipongan’s most legendary performers, Idjah Hadjijah on vocals and the famed Jugala group of West Java.

Jaipongan developed out of a musical genre of ritual and celebration called ketuk-tilu (three kettle gongs). Ketuk-tilu is known for complex drumming coordinated with equally dynamic solo female dancers. These performances also include a rebab, a small upright bowed instrument, a gong, and, of course, the ketuk-tilu, three kettle gongs. The original performance context of this music revolved around planting and harvesting rituals. Over time, ketuk-tilu became an outlet for village life, expressing fertility, sensuality, eroticism, and, at times, socially accepted prostitution.

In 1961, President Sukarno placed a ban on Western music — most specifically rock and roll — ostensibly to revive traditional Indonesian arts. This constricting policy did, however, have some creative outcomes: for instance, it inspired the composer/choreographer Gugum Gumbira to creatively expand and retrofit the dynamic and intense ketuk-tilu music. Working with ketuk-tilu as a basis, Gumbira brought in the gamelan and modified the accompanying dance. The modifications retained some of the original sensual moves, joining to them a popular martial art called pencack silat. Gumbira also brought new emphasis to the role of singer, allowing the performers to concentrate solely on their voices. Thus a new art form was created.

The repressed musical environment couldn’t banish the growing new expression of “socially acceptable” sensuality. On the contrary, it fueled it, combining with a booming cassette recording industry and enabling Jaipongan to sweep Java in unprecedented ways.

Performers

Group: Campaka Warna
Sinden: Idjah
Kendang: Berlin
Rebab: Ojay
Ganbang: Arie
Saron I: Ada
SaronII: Cucu
Bonang: Ucehg
Rincik: Ijang
Goong: Oleh
Demung: Rizki
Kenturng: Jajang
Kecrek: Berlin
Peking: Dodi

Recorded at Jugula Studio, Remix Studio, and Aru Studio
in Bandung Java, Indonesia by Electrophoria
(Kai Riedl / Producer, Suny Lyons / Engineer)